25 July 2006

Helplessly Hoping

Today's post is a reprint of a Cindy Sheehan article originally posted on Truthout.org. Sums up what I'm feeling lately pretty darned well. I've both linked and highlighted in red a mention of Kucinich’s Resolution (H Con Res 450) Demanding Bush to Call for Cease-Fire, which you could contatct your Representative about, if you were motivated.

Helplessly Hoping Day 21, Troops Home Fast By Cindy Sheehan t r u t h o u t | Perspective Tuesday 25 July 2006 I have been in such a blue funk of depression and worry since Israel's over-reaction - or "over action" - in Lebanon in what seems to be insanity escalating out of control. What our media and some world leaders seem to expediently forget is that Israel massacred an entire family on a beach in Lebanon with a rocket and kidnapped two Palestinian citizens before Hezbollah and Hamas kidnapped some Israeli soldiers. Who started the cycle of violence in those countries? Who knows? Who cares! The important question is: who are going to be the courageous ones with integrity, wisdom and compassion who are going to at long last stop the absurdity? As hard as I may try, I cannot wrap my mind around the fanatical rhetoric coming out of DC and from all over the world and the mindless and seemingly overwhelming support of Israel's right to "defend itself." What Israel is doing in Lebanon by killing hundreds of innocent civilians in a relatively short period of time is like the US defending itself from the tens of thousands of innocent babies, women and children in Iraq. It is morally reprehensible and just an extension of BushCo's campaign to enrich the voracious war profiteers. I read yesterday that our State Department approved a new shipment of bombs and rockets to Israel. With the thousands upon thousands of US-made bombs and rockets being dropped on Lebanon by the IDF it makes one wonder if the expiration dates on the bombs were nearing and the war machine needed to sell and ship more bombs so that the CEOs could fill their Hummers, limos, and jets with gas. Naively, I always presumed that the State Department was there to prevent the use of military force, not support it by authorizing more weapons for more efficient killing! Don't we have a War Department for more killing? I feel like I am living in Bizarro World. I have been watching a lot of cable news networks and have heard such one-sided phrases as: "Over 50 civilians killed in Lebanon today, but the real story is in the Israeli city of Nazareth, where two Hezbollah rockets landed." Why is that the real story, Tucker Carlson? It is an immensely tragic story, because two harmless children were killed in Nazareth, but how does it trump over 50 civilians being killed in Lebanon? Oh yeah, I forgot! John Bolton said that there is no "moral equivalency" between innocent Arabs being killed and innocent Israelis being killed. It's not immoral for Israel to kill innocent civilians because they are fighting terror with more terror: it's the American Way! One day I heard another perfectly coiffed and composed talking head say while the fancy war graphics rolled across the TV screen in my hotel room: "This is day 12 of fighting in the Middle East." Day 12! Try selling that idiotic sound bite to the people of Iraq and who are dying by the dozens still every day in increasing violence. Try telling our soldiers who keep on dying over there that this is "Day 12" … It is more like 2,567 on day 1,200 plus of fighting in Iraq. The war crimes in Israel and Lebanon have so conveniently knocked Iraq completely off the radar screen, which is probably a thing of beauty and a welcome development to the White House and Pentagon. We are being told that a few hundred people have been killed in Lebanon when we were shown a mass grave on CNN in the ancient city of Tyre that had almost 90 coffins in it being presided over by a distraught mayor, telling us that at least two or three hundred more of his city's residents were buried in the rubble of the barbaric Israeli attacks. Tyre is one city, and we viewed the mass grave days ago. Tyre and the rest of the country are being relentlessly bombed for the sins of a few, which is a crime against humanity. It seems like we are armchair witnesses to Armageddon and ashamed witnesses to our fool of a President at the G-8: groping women; talking, eating, and swearing with his mouth full; drooling over slicing a pig and generally acting like a drunken and amorous frat boy at a toga party. I would like to ask George Bush a few more questions besides "What noble cause?" Like: "What the hell is so humorous, you jester in a tailored suit? You told us that you were making the world a safer place because of your War of Terror, and you are decidedly not!" I would also like to ask him if he is proud of himself for the way things are going on the 1200th plus day of fighting in the Middle East. Of course it is not about pride - it is about profit and the Project for a New American Century. I mourn for the murders of the Israeli people, which are just as tragic (but not more tragic) and done just as barbarically (but not more barbarically) as the murders that Israel is commiting in this needless violence, as much as I mourn the deaths of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and the innocents in all Arab countries who are trapped in this insane spiral of bedlam. When is the world going to realize that bloodshed cannot be stopped, cured or even alleviated by shedding more blood? Killing is a cancer that spreads the more it is fed. This disease is spreading around the world, and instead of passing resolutions to condone the punishment of an innocent civilian population, Congress should be passing resolutions condemning ALL types of violence and should be supporting Rep. Dennis Kucinich's (D-Ohio) call for a truce (H.Con.Res 450) so a diplomatic solution can be sought - one that brings ALL sides to the table and one that ALL sides can feel comfortable and safer with. The only way to a "lasting cease-fire" that the weapons broker, Condi, keeps talking about is a negotiated settlement that includes and insists on peaceful co-existence in the region. Martin Luther King Jr. said it is either "peaceful co-existence or mutual co-annihilation." Our planet is headed on a path of annihilation if we don't all stop and take a deep breath, relax and realize that our brothers and sisters are being killed in the Middle East so that more bombs and rockets can be rushed there (on all sides) and so that our oil companies can have total control of the world's oil resources. I have felt so helpless in the face of such unwarranted carnage, calamity, and sorrow. I have felt hopeless that anything I do can even alleviate the suffering of one person. I am helplessly hoping that the people of the world will join me and rise up to say a collective: "In God's (Allah's - whatever's) name: enough is more than enough, already!" One last quote: Dwight David Eisenhower said, "I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it." I believe that we the people of Earth should demand that our governments get out of our way and stop being beholden to the war machine and allow us to have peace. Selfishly, I would love to have a world that my surviving children and their children can peacefully co-exist with peoples of other nations in. I recognize Israel's right to defend itself as I recognize the US's right to defend ourselves as I recognize Lebanon's and Iraq's right to defend themselves - but I do not, cannot, and will not recognize anyone's right to commit wholesale slaughter on babies and children. I refuse to recognize that right no matter who does it - terrorists or state-sanctioned wars of terror - I refuse to recognize the right to slaughter and, whether it makes a difference or not, I refuse to be silent about it. It must stop: For my children, your children and their children. They are all our children.


At 8/14/2006 10:55:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not so orginal...I thought I'd share something with you that I read. I dream of peace in the world. I abhor all killing, whether the children be infants, teenages, or grown children. I just don't know what to do with terrorists. the Author is a Lebanese Journalist, a very very very brave person.

By Michael Bֳ©hֳ©, in Beirut
(English -- Translated from the French by Llewellyn Brown)
The politicians, journalists and intellectuals of Lebanon have, of late, been experiencing the shock of their lives. They knew full well that Hezbollah had created an independent state in our country, a state including all the ministers and parallel institutions, duplicating those of Lebanon. What they did not know - and are discovering with this war, and what has petrified them with surprise and terror - is the extent of this phagocytosis.

In fact, our country had become an extension of Iran, and our so-called political power also served as a political and military cover for the Islamists of Teheran. We suddenly discovered that Teheran had stocked more than 12,000 missiles, of all types and calibers, on our territory and that they had patiently, systematically, organized a suppletive force, with the help of the Syrians, that took over, day after day, all the rooms in the House of Lebanon. Just imagine it : we stock ground-to-ground missiles, Zilzals, on our territory and that the firing of such devices without our knowledge, has the power to spark a regional strategic conflict and, potentially, bring about the annihilation of Lebanon.

We knew that Iran, by means of Hezbollah, was building a veritable Maginot line in the south but it was the pictures of Maroun el-Ras and Bint J'bail that revealed to us the magnitude of these constructions. This amplitude made us understand several things at once : that we were no longer masters of our destiny. That we do not possess the most basic means necessary to reverse the course of this state of things and that those who turned our country into an outpost of their islamic doctrine's combat against Israel did not have the slightest intention of willingly giving up their hold over us.

The national salvation discussions that concerned the application of Resolution 1559 and which included most of the Lebanese political movements were simply for show. Iran and Syria had not invested billions of dollars on militarizing Lebanon in order to wage their war, simply to give in to the desire of the Lebanese and the international community for them to pack up their hardware and set it up back home.

And then, the indecision, the cowardice, the division and the irresponsible behavior of our leaders are such that they had no effort to make to show their talent. No need to engage a wrestling match with the other political components of the Land of Cedars. The latter showed themselves - and continue to show themselves - to be inconsistent.

Of course, our army, reshaped over the years by the Syrian occupier so it could no longer fulfill its role as protector of the nation, did not have the capacity to tackle the militamen of the Hezb [hezb-Allah : the party of Allah. Translator's note]. Our army whom it is more dangerous to call upon - because of the explosive equilibrium that constitutes each of its brigades - than to shut up behind locked doors in its barracks. A force that is still largely loyal to its former foreign masters, to the point of being uncontrollable ; to the point of having collaborated with the Iranians to put OUR coastal radar stations at the disposal of their missiles, that almost sunk an Israeli boat off the shores of Beirut. As for the non-Hezbollah elements in the government, they knew nothing of the existence of land-to-sea missiles on our territoryֵ That caused the totally justified destruction of all OUR radar stations by the Hebrews' army. And even then we are getting off lightly in these goings-on.

It is easy now to whine and gripe, and to play the hypocritical role of victims. We know full well how to get others to pity us and to claim that we are never responsible for the horrors that regularly occur on our soil. Of course, that is nothing but rubbish! The Security Council's Resolution 1559 - that demanded that OUR government deploy OUR army on OUR sovereign territory, along OUR international border with Israel and that it disarm all the militia on OUR land - was voted on 2 September 2004.

We had two years to put implement this resolution and thus guarantee a peaceful future to our children but we did strictly nothing. Our greatest crime - which was not the only one! - was not that we did not succeed but that we did not attempt or undertake anything. And that was the fault of none else than the pathetic Lebanese politicians.

Our government, from the very moment the Syrian occupier left, let ships and truckloads of arms pour into our country. Without even bothering to look at their cargo. They jeopardized all chances for the rebirth of our country by confusing the Cedar Revolution with the liberation of Beirut. In reality, we had just received the chance - a sort of unhoped-for moratorium - that allowed us to take the future into our own hands, nothing more.

To think that we were not even capable of agreeing to "hang" ֳ‰mile Lahoud - Al-Assad's puppet - on Martyrs' Square and that he is still president of what some insist on calling our republicֵ There is no need to look any further : we are what we are, that is to say, not much.

All those who assume public and communicational responsibilities in this country are responsible for this catastrophe. Except those of my colleagues, journalists and editors, who are dead, assassinated by the Syrian thugs, because they were clearly less cowardly than those who survived. And Lahoud remained at Baadbֳ© [the president of the Lebanese Republic's palace. Editor's note]!

And when I speak of a catastrophe, I do not mean the action accomplished by Israel in response to the aggression against its civilians and its army, which was produced from our soil and that we did strictly nothing to avoid, and for which we are consequently responsible. Any avoiding of this responsibility - some people here do not have the minimal notions of international law necessary to understand! - means that Lebanon, as a state, does not exist.

The hypocrisy goes on : even some editorialists of the respectable L'Orient-le-Jour put Hezbollah's savagery and that of the Israelis on a par! Shame! Spinelessness! And who are we in this fable? Poor ad ֳ¦ternum victims of the ambitions of others?

Politicians either support this insane idea or keep silent. Those we would expect to speak, to save our image, remain silent like the others. And I am precisely alluding to general Aoun, who could have made a move by proclaiming the truth. Even his enemy, Walid Jumblatt, the Druse leader, has proved to be lessֵ vague.

Lebanon a victim? What a joke!

Before the Israeli attack, Lebanon no longer existed, it was no more than a hologram. At Beirut innocent citizens like myself were forbidden access to certain areas of their own capital. But our police, our army and our judges were also excluded. That was the case, for example, of Hezbollah's and the Syrians' command zone in the Haret Hreik quarter (in red on the satellite map). A square measuring a kilometer wide, a capital within the capital, permanently guarded by a Horla army [1], possessing its own institutions, its schools, its crֳ¨ches, its tribunals, its radio, its television and, above allֵ its government. A "government" that, alone decided, in the place of the figureheads of the Lebanese government - in which Hezbollah also had its ministers! - to attack a neighboring state, with which we had no substantial or grounded quarrel, and to plunge US into a bloody conflict. And if attacking a sovereign nation on its territory, assassinating eight of its soldiers, kidnapping two others and, simultaneously, launching missiles on nine of its towns does not constitute a casus belli, the latter juridical principle will seriously need revising.

Thus almost all of these cowardly politicians, including numerous shiah leaders and religious personalities themselves, are blessing each bomb that falls from a Jewish F-16 turning the insult to our sovereignty that was Haret Hreik, right in the heart of Beirut, into a lunar landscape. Without the Israelis, how could we have received another chance - that we in no way deserve! - to rebuild our country?

Each Irano-Syrian fort that Jerusalem destroys, each islamic fighter they eliminate, and Lebanon proportionally starts to live again! Once again, the soldiers of Israel are doing our work. Once again, like in 1982, we are watching - cowardly, lying low, despicable, and insulting them to boot - their heroic sacrifice that allows us to keep hoping. To not be swallowed up in the bowels of the earth. Because, of course, by dint of not giving a damn for southern Lebanon, of letting foreigners take hold of the privileges that belong to us, we no longer had the ability to recover our independence and sovereignty. If, at the end of this war, the Lebanese army retakes control over its territory and gets rid of the state within a state - that tried to suffocate the latter -, it will only be thanks to Tsahal [the Israeli Defense Forces. Translator's note], and that, all these faint-hearted politicians, from the crook Fouad Siniora, to Saad Hariri, the son of Lebanon's plunderer, and general Aoun all know perfectly well.

As for the destruction caused by the Israelisֵ that is another imposture : look at the satellite map! I have situated, as best I could, BUT IN THEIR CORRECT PROPORTIONS, the parts of my capital that have been destroyed by Israel. They are Haret Hreik - in its totality - and the dwellings of Hezbollah's leaders, situated in the large Shi'a suburb of Dayaa (as they spell it) and that I have circled in blue.

In addition to these two zones, Tsahal has exploded a nine-storied building that housed Hezbollah's command, in Beirut's city center, above and slightly to the left (to the north west) of Haret Hreik on the map. It was Nasrallah's "perch" inside the city, whereby he asserted his presence and domination over us. A depot of Syrian arms in the port, two army radars that the Shiite officers had put at the Hezb's disposal, and a truck suspected of transporting arms, in the Christian quarter of Ashrafieh.

Moreover the road and airport infrastructures were put out of working order : they served to provide Hezbollah with arms and munitions. Apart from that, Tsahal has neither hit nor deteriorated anything, and all those who speak of the "destruction of Beirut" are either liars, Iranians, anti-Semites or absent. Even the houses situated one alley's distance from the targets I mentioned have not been hit, they have not even suffered a scratch; on contemplating these results of this work you understand the meaning of the concept "surgical strikes" and you can admire the dexterity of the Jewish pilots.
[Image Removed]
Satellite map of Beirut (Google Earth)
Circled in red, the razed area, in blue, area where the dwellings belonging to the terrorist organization's top brass have been destroyed (Michael Bֳ©hֳ©)

Beirut, all the rest of Beirut, 95% of Beirut, lives and breathes better than a fortnight ago. All those who have not sided with terrorism know they have strictly nothing to fear from the Israeli planes, on the contrary! One example: last night the restaurant where I went to eat was jammed full and I had to wait until 9:30 pm to get a table. Everyone was smiling, relaxed, but no one filmed them: a strange destruction of Beirut, is it not?

Of course, there are some 500,000 refugees from the south who are experiencing a veritable tragedy and who are not smiling. But Jean [Tsadik. Editor's note], who has his eyes fixed on Kfar Kileh, and from whom I have learned to believe each word he says, assures me that practically all the houses of the aforesaid refugees are intact. So they will be able to come back as soon as Hezbollah is vanquished.

The defeat of the Shi'a fundamentalists of Iranian allegiance is imminent. The figures communicated by Nasrallah's minions and by the Lebanese Red-Cross are deceiving: firstly, of the 400 dead declared by Lebanon, only 150 are real collateral civilian victims of the war, the others were militiamen without uniform serving Iran. The photographic report "Les Civils des bilans libanais" made by Stֳ©phane Juffa for our agency constitutes, to this day, the unique tangible evidence of this gigantic morbid manipulation. Which makes this document eminently important.

Moreover, Hassan Nasrallah's organization has not lost 200 combatants, as Tsahal claims. This figure only concerns the combats taking place on the border and even then the Israelis underestimate it, for a reason that escapes me, by about a hundred militiamen eliminated. The real count of Hezbollah's casualties, that includes those dead in Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, Baalbek and their other camps, rocket and missile launchers and arms and munition depots amounts to 1,100 supplementary Hezbollah militiamen who have definitively ceased to terrorize and humiliate my country.

Like the overwhelming majority of Lebanese, I pray that no one puts an end to the Israeli attack before it finishes shattering the terrorists. I pray that the Hebrew soldiers will penetrate all the hidden recesses of southern Lebanon and will hunt out, in our stead, the vermin that has taken root there. Like the overwhelming majority of Lebanese, I have put the champagne ready in the refrigerator to celebrate the Israeli victory.

But contrary to them - and to paraphrase Michel Sardou [a French singer. Translator's note] -, I recognize that they are also fighting for our liberty, another battle "where you were not present"! And in the name of my people, I wish to express my infinite gratitude to the relatives of the Israeli victims - civilian and military - whose loved ones have fallen so that I can live standing upright in my identity. They should know that I weep with them.

As for the pathetic clique that thrives at the head of my country, it is time for them to understand that after this war, after our natural allies have rid us of those who are hindering us from rebuilding a nation, a cease-fire or an armistice will not suffice. To ensure the future of Lebanon, it is time to make peace with those we have no reason to go to war against. In fact, only peace will ensure peace. Someone must tell them because in this country we have not learnt what a truism is.

Note :
[1] Michael Bֳ©hֳ© is alluding to the book Le Horla, by Guy de Maupassant [Editor's note].
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